HELP & ADVICE
Making sure that your windscreen wiper blades are in good condition is vital at any point of the year, but especially in winter. Sometimes that means you will need to replace your wiper blades. Remember, your wipers are the only parts that can help keep your windscreen clear of debris and water during bad weather conditions. They can help improve your vision of the road and help keep you safe.Signs That The Windscreen Wiper Blades Are Worn Over time the wiper blades will deteriorate as it copes with a variety of weather conditions and debris. From hot weather to freezing temperatures, all can have a different effect on the parts. There is a couple of things that will tell there is a problem with wipers.
- 1. Slow and erratic movement If your wipers don’t move across your windscreen smoothly it’s likely that the rubber on the blades has worn away. It’s important to get this addressed as it may have a knock-on effect on, for example, the wiper motor. It will have to work much harder with the increased resistance and may wear out too.
- 2. Noise If there is a squeaking noise coming from the wipers it is possible that they have worn. That said, wipers can also make a noise if there isn’t enough water on the windows for the wipers to process.
- 3. Streaking Wiper blades can sometimes get damaged due to debris. The rubber might wear away in places in the process. Often this will lead to the wipers not being able to remove water on the windscreen in a single sweep. In that case the wipers will leave behind streaks on the window.
- 4. Visual damage Another good way to find out if the blades need changing is to simply look at them. Often it’s easy to find out that way if there is something wrong with the blades. Damaged edges or brittle rubber will mean that the wipers won’t be able to clean the windscreen effectively.
If the wiper blades are not replaced from time to time, they can eventually damage the windscreen glass as well. Keeping in mind that a set of wiper blades is way cheaper than a new window it makes sense to replace them timely. If you’re not sure whether yours are worn then get Platinum Vehicle Services to look at them and replace them if needed.
Brake problems are some of the most common issues on cars. Reduced stopping power is usually the biggest issue. But braking issues don’t stop there, there is lots of signs that can indicate there is something wrong with the brakes. Brake problems are usually accompanied by squealing and grinding noises and vibrations. Sometimes the brake pedal will feel very hard to press down, and other times there may be no brake pressure at all. Finding out what is wrong with the brakes can be tricky. There are, after all, lots of parts that can go wrong. But there is some checks you can do by listening and hearing to diagnose any issues:
- 1. Check Brake Performance Listen for any noises when you’re braking. Any squealing or grinding noises can be due to issues with the brakes. It may just be that the brake pads have worn down to much, or that the discs have not worn evenly. If you feel a judder under braking it is likely that your brakes have worn unevenly. The discs may for example have warped due to excessive heat build-up. This can have a knock on effect on other brake parts and is best resolved quickly.
- 2. Check Noise When Driving If you’re driving and not braking and you still hear a scraping noise continuously then there is a chance there is also something wrong with your brakes. It could be that the brake pads have not returned to their normal position after braking. Often it means that a brake caliper has seized and that it continues to push the pads against your discs.
- 3. Check Brake Hydraulics Checking the brake pedal can help to find out if their is any issues with the hydraulic system which power the brakes. It’s important that the brakes engage long before you press the brake pedal to the floor. If the brakes only start to kick in late on and they feel spongy then it’s likely you have a problem with the hydraulics. In that instance there may be air in the system. If you brake hard and you feel that the pressure on the brake pedal slowly decreases, then it’s likely that there may be a leak in the system. This ‘sinking pedal’ issue could mean that the master cylinder or a brake hose is leaking somewhere.
- 4. Check Brake Discs The brake discs are usually visible through the spokes in your wheel. When checking them look out for any grooves and ridges or uneven surfaces. The discs should be flat and smooth. If they are not, they might have suffered from scoring. Worn brake pads will be the cause of this. It’s important to get this repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the discs and to stay safe.
- 5. Check Handbrake Last but not least make sure to check your handbrake. It is vital in ensuring that your car can be locked in place when stationary. If you have to pull the brake handle higher than usual then it’s likely that the tension on the cable is off. Often readjustment is needed or new brake shoes.
Timing chains may sometimes need replacing, just like timing belts. Unlike timing belts they usually will only need replacing if there is a problem. Normally the timing chain will be designed to last a car’s lifetime, and will not need to be replaced at a recommended service interval. In some cases, despite not needing regular maintenance, a timing chain can wear to the point that it has to be replaced. Often this will be due to wear caused by other parts that are connected to the chain. Design faults, on the other hand, may also be a reason to replace it.
How Do I Know Whether The Timing Chain Needs Replacing?
Timing chain wear is often caused insufficient lubrication of the part. As with the other moving parts in the engine the chain is lubricated by the engine oil. It ensures the part runs smoothly along all the other parts. A lack of fresh oil can have an adverse effect on the condition of the chain. It will mean that it will wear quicker, and ultimately will need to be replaced. In more extreme cases the timing chain can snap. Whilst this is not a common problem, design issues or other faulty engine parts can lead to this. The only option then is to replace the chain. On some engines it may actually mean further internal engine repairs are required. As noted most manufacturers design the timing chain to last the car’s lifetime. Only some car manufacturer say that timing chains need replacing after a while. Your car manufacturer will tell when this should happen in your service manual. Other than that, though, timing chains only need replacing if there is a problem with them. At Platinum Vehicle Services, we normally advise to replace the whole timing chain kit if there is a problem. By replacing the bits around it at the same time, like tensioners and guides, wear caused by these parts to a new chain can be reduced. Further expensive repairs can then be avoided. Remember, wear to the chain over time is inevitable. But the good new is that you can reduce the likelihood of your engine needing expensive repair by sticking to the service schedule. For example, by changing the oil and oil filter regularly.
Winter tyres can seem like a bit of a mystery. Often it’s unclear what they actually do and if they are any different from summer tyres. Tyres are tyres, right? Truth is that winter tyres are a highly specialised piece of kit. They will help keep your car stable in winter weather. They are, in fact, significantly different than summer tyres. Summer tyres are fitted as standard to most cars, and are the perfect companion to your car for the summer months. And up to a certain point they work fine in other seasons as well. Their performance, however, rapidly declines as temperatures drop. Summer tyres are made in such a way that they are soft and grip well in normal and warm temperatures. But once temperatures approach 7C and below the summer tyres will start to lose traction with the road surface. Your car will start to feel unstable and it may not be very comfortable to drive. At that point it is probably worth getting some winter tyres for your car.
Why do winter tyres work better in cold weather? Winter tyres are made out of a different type of rubber which makes them softer. It ensures they remain supple in cold weather. It helps to make them ‘grippier’ in winter conditions. On top of that the tyre tread design is deeper and has more sipes (small slits) which help it process water and snow better. This all contributes to the fact that winter tyres are proven to stop a car better in cold weather than summer tyres. Tyre manufacturer Continental found that winter tyres can help to stop a car travelling at 31mph eight metres before the same car on summer tyres. That might not seem like much, but it can be the difference between crashing into the back of another car or stopping just in time.
Top Tips For any tyre to work well, it needs to be in a good condition and inflated to the right level. A winter tyre that is worn and underinflated may work no better in winter than a brand-new summer tyre. On the other hand, a summer tyre that has almost worn beyond the legal limit, will be no good even if it is summer. That’s why it’s very important to ensure at any time of the year that the tyre tread depth is well within the legal limit. On top of that, make sure your tyres are inflated to the right level. This will help the tyres perform better, your car will be a safer place to be in and will waste less fuel in the process.
A pollen filter or cabin air filter keeps the air that flows into the cabin clean. What it does is filter out any pollen or dirt that flows into the car. This is not only great to keep the air clean for any passengers inside the car, but it will also keep the system clean. By keeping the pollen filter clean you can help improve the performance of your ventilation or air conditioning system.
How Often Should You Change The Pollen Filter? The pollen filter is a part that would regularly need to be replaced. The more you drive the car, the dirtier it will get. That’s why it should really be replaced at regular intervals. Your car’s service schedule will give advise as to when it needs replacing. How often it is needed as such does really depend on the type of car you have and how much you drive and where. After all driving in traffic or in heavily polluted areas will mean that the pollen filter needs replacing more often. As it will be more affected by grime and dust.
How Can You Tell If The Pollen Filter Needs Replacing? Checking the condition of the pollen filter can be left to the mechanic for your next service. But if the air ventilation system is not performing very well it’s possible that it’s dirty. Over time lots of dust, grime, twigs, leaves and even insects can accumulate across the service of the pollen filter. Often you may be able to remove some of the bits and pieces that have nestled itself in the filter. At some stage, though, it will require a pollen filter replacement. Make sure to follow advice provided by your mechanic or your service manual.